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Final E3000 earphones

Final E3000 earphones

Hold the phone! Please place your mobile device on the table and back away slowly. Do not process that order in your Amazon virtual checkout cart for those cheap, crappy, generic replacement ear buds. You are surely going to thank yourself for delaying instant gratification as you have yet to hear Final’s new, £49 E3000 earphones. For little more than just about any mainstream audio manufacturer’s basement-priced earbud model, Final has planted its flag, claimed the territory, and roped off the mountain top for perhaps the best value earphones under £100 with its new E3000 model. Even with a short listen to Final’s new E3000 series you will forget all about completing that pending Amazon order. In fact, these earphones are so good that you may even find yourself down at the nearest street corner wearing a Final-branded sandwich board proselytizing the value of the E3000s to anyone you can get to stop and listen. OK, I’m calmer now. Honest.

 Final’s philosophy has always been deliberately grounded in honouring quality materials through their product development since the company’s inception in Japan in 1974. In April of this year Chris Martens reviewed Final’s splendid sounding Sonorous III, so without repeating his storied history of the company, let me remind you the pursuit of quality comes directly from the passion of Final’s CEO, Mitsuru Hosoo. Under Hosoo-san’s direction, Final upped the ante by setting up an in-house factory to control and implement direct feedback from their design and development team. Final believes it is this interplay between design and implementation that provides their enthusiastic staff with the autonomy to continually reset the bar for high quality audio. 

 Luckily for the rest of us, Mr. Hosoo also has an equally intense drive for Final to lower the financial barriers to their latest line of high fidelity earphones. Retailing for the rock bottom, and frankly eyebrow raising price of only £49, it is no surprise that every precious Yen of the E3000 price tag must be accounted for. With so little fat to trim off that price point, Final chose wisely to forego unnecessary or pretentious packaging for the E3000. No harm no foul for me on this point. I found the packaging and protection were sufficient, especially as included you will find a nondescript soft leather carrying case for your E3000’s protection. With no place to hide in the minimalist packaging, when opening the box, your eye is drawn to the shining E3000 stainless steel mirror-finished housing.

 

This shimmering housing oozing with confidence presents quite a visual statement right out of the gate. The stainless steel finish is a bold choice on a low cost earphone where most of us would expect the value to be focused inside the housing. This point is key to Final’s philosophy that even its ‘budget’ products should be pleasant to look at and touch. I have to say the finish did enhance my experience with the earphones. If only subconsciously, every time I picked up the E3000s I processed the quality finish and my enjoyment was enhanced. Kudos to the Final engineers for paying attention back in their college ‘intro to psychology’ classes; their studiousness has paid off, lifting my expectation of the E3000s. As commanding as the housing finish is, the rest of the earphone assembly is designed to fall into the background. The E3000s cord is a no frills black rubber 1.2m long cord with a 3.5mm adapter that does not garner any significant attention. If anything, the plainness of the cord further enhances the ‘wow’ factor of the stainless steel. 

 As I was already impressed by the physical looks of the E3000, Final’s clear intention to provide a comfortable fit is also worth a mention. The ear canal diagrams provided on the box make it clear that fit details were carefully poured over in the design phase. Most ear tips I have tried are simple silicone ‘bulbs’ that slip onto the sound outlet tubes of the earphones. With the E3000, though, Final has come up with a specially-shaped sound outlet tube with matching E-type ear tips that together provide what the company calls a ‘swing-fit earpiece mechanism’. I found the E3000’s fit was by  far the most comfortable I have experienced in the sub-£200 category so they are on to something here when it comes to comfort. In wearing the Final E3000, I was moving from album to album without needing to take a break. On top of a non-fatiguing fit I found that the ambient sound did not find its way through the pad’s seal. The E3000’s fit ensured my music was front and centre as it should be. 

 Looks and comfort aside, I’ll level with you. At £49, I did not have lofty sonic expectations for the Final E3000 going into my review. However, about 15 minutes into my first listening session when I got to the Mariachi horn finale of Father John Misty’s ‘Chateau lobby #4’ from I love you Honeybear [Subpop] the horns were so expressive that I realised that I had forgotten to keep my nose turned up like a proper price snob! The E3000’s 6.4mm dynamic driver showed its ability to convey layers of detail without losing the finesse of the music, I was picking out previously unnoticed nuances to my music all over the place. 

To further put these earphones through their paces and see just how much they could bite off in the resolution department I chose to audition Real Estate’s 2012 album Days [Domino]. Real Estate has made their fine reputation on crafting a dreamy avalanche of sound that hypnotizes and buries the listener alive, a perfect test for sonic resolution. The E3000s knifed right through this anaesthetising wash of sound and separated out the players with such authority that I felt compelled to go check the liner notes to re-associate players names with the instruments I was now hearing so clearly. This level of detail provided by the E3000s brought me closer to the music and enabled me to engage with it on a level that I was unaccustomed to in an earphone of this price point. 

 

At £49 a pair, Final’s E3000 is down to brass tacks on what you are able to receive from a high end earphone purchase. Unfortunately the E3000s lack a noteworthy driving bass element to their sonic picture that could be hard to overlook for some. I was able to compensate the bass response by pairing the E3000 earphones with my ifi iDAC2 headphone amp. If you have the means, I found that with the proper support of a headphone amp my impression never strayed far from hearing a balanced musical picture. The strength of the E3000s is that they produced a tremendously detailed listening experience that was in no way harsh or fatiguing to my ears. The E3000s brought a clarity to my listening so that I found myself again and again excited to try a new piece of music to see what I had missed on previous jaded listens. For serious headphone heads I can see these E3000s becoming many readers’ valued on-the-go solution. The E3000s have a sensitivity of 100db, so even if the E3000 are riding solo in your pocket with only your mobile device they are so easy to drive that they can deliver you a high fidelity fix anywhere. The quality and attention to detail that rides on the E3000 product will go a long way to redefine the performance standard for a low cost earphone. If you would like to hear more please come find me downtown, I’ll be on the corner wearing a Final sandwich board, and I would be glad to take just a few moments of your time and give you a flyer on the E3000s! 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Single dynamic driver equipped universal-fit earphone

Drivers: 6.4mm dynamic 

Impedance: 16 Ohms

Sensitivity: 100 dB/mw 

Accessories:  Soft carry pouch, five pairs of Final ear tips (sizes XXS, XS, S, M, and L), 1 pair of earhooks, manual and warranty card

Weight: 14g

Price: £49/$US54

Manufacturer: S’Next Co, Ltd.

URL: snext-final.com 

Distributed in the US by: RSM Communications

Tel: +1 800 506 0628

Distributed in the UK by: KS Distribution

Tel: +44 (0) 1903 768 919

URL: ksdistribution.co.uk

Tags: FEATURED

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